If EJ Manuel's megawatt smile and engaging charisma weren't enough to warm a chilly Tonawanda, N.Y., Monday night at Dave and Adam's Card World, the freshly-inked autographs and positive vibes he delivered during his first public signing with Panini Authentic provided enough heat to last at least until this summer -- and memories that promise to last way longer than that.
If EJ Manuel’s megawatt smile and engaging charisma weren’t enough to warm a chilly Tonawanda, N.Y., Monday night at Dave and Adam’s Card World, the freshly-inked autographs and positive vibes he delivered during his first public signing with Panini Authentic provided enough heat to last at least until this summer — and memories that promise to last way longer than that.
Manuel, the Buffalo Bills’ superstar rookie QB, arrived early for his scheduled 6 p.m. signing session yesterday with his father, Erik, by his side. He greeted everyone who came through the line with a heartfelt handshake and that captivating smile. He took pictures — and often more than one — with anyone who asked. When a uniformed member of the U.S. military came through the line, Manuel stood up, shook his hand and thanked him for his service to our country.
For two straight hours, Manuel continued to prove what Panini America officials have known since they first met him last winter. The 16th player taken in the 2013 NFL Draft is every bit as impressive off the field as he is on it.
“EJ was fantastic from start to finish and really seemed to make a connection with each and every fan who came to get his autograph,” said Panini Authentic’s Brian Bayne. “He’s warm, engaging and genuine — not to mention one of brightest young stars in the NFL. Everyone who had the chance to meet him during the signing now has a better understanding of why we’re so excited to have him exclusively on the Panini Authentic team.”
It’s worth noting that Manuel and his father are diehard fans of Panini Authentic teammate Kobe Bryant, as evidenced by the shirt and shoes Manuel wore Monday night. He’ll likely be repping Kobe once again in a few weeks when he’s attending the BCS National Championship Game between his Florida State Seminoles and the Auburn Tigers.
In addition to signing for Dave and Adam’s customers Monday night, Manuel also conducted his first Panini Authentic signing, penning his name to helmets, footballs, photos and game-worn memorabilia that will be added soon to the Panini Authentic website.
“We were honored to be able to host EJ’s first public signing and to offer our customers — most of whom are diehard Bills fans — this rare opportunity to meet a superstar of his stature,” said Dave and Adam’s CEO Adam Martin. “We’ve done a lot of player appearances in our stores across all sports, and the key to a successful event almost always comes down to the personality of the player. The better the personality, the better the experience. Clearly, this was one of our best signings yet — and that has everything to do with EJ and his dad.”
We’ve provided some great images from the event in the gallery that follows. But first, check out this cool time-lapsed video from the event shot by a member of the Dave and Adam’s Card World team. Enjoy.